Re-claiming the Incarnation 06-22-2017

Many Christians shy away from Jesus’ name altogether since it has been used to exclude. In the process, they completely disregard the center of Christian faith. There are liberal churches where I’ve been told, “We don’t use the J word here (Jesus). Too many people have been burned by it.” If this is really my stance, I should become Unitarian or Baha’i. But, to remain within the Christian tradition and not mention Jesus is ludicrous.

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Some current theologians refer to Jesus as a Jewish mystic, a healer, a wisdom teacher, a social prophet, and a movement initiator. Yet they never explicitly refer to Jesus as the human incarnation of God, which is the most important claim of Christianity’s two thousand years of witnesses.[1]

Generations of witnesses have claimed that with Jesus something unique and unprecedented happened: God’s human incarnation. Disregarding this unique claim of Christian tradition is an unprecedented break from historic Christian faith (1 Corinthians3:11).

The incarnation is Christianity’s unique testament among the world religions. If we loose this fulcrum, we lose traditional Christianity. We cannot, with integrity, dispense with the central core of Christian faith. We can, however, carefully choose whose interpretation of the incarnation is authoritative for us. For me, The Alexandrian Mystics (Alexandrian Fathers) are the authorities on the incarnation, restoring breadth and depth to Christian theology. For more on their interpretation of the incarnation (The Jesus Paradox) see my book, Healing The Divide: Recovering Christianity’s Mystic Roots.

 

[1] Borg, The Heart of Christianity, 89-91. A number of people I’ve talked to have concurred that they appreciate Marcus Borg’s The Heart of Christianity as a corrective to imbalances in the Christian faith, but that it’s not a definitive work because it gives away too much that is uniquely Christian.

[2] Goulder, Incarnation and Myth, 43.

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The Way of the Wisdom Jesus: Going Beyond the Mind to the Heart of His Teaching – If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. In this online course, Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader Cynthia Bourgeault serves as a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teaching for yourself.  Based upon her book the Wisdom Jesus.

Our friends at Contemplative Light are offering  Contemplative Practices. This  course examines in-depth traditional practices of the Christian mystics, including:  The Examen, Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer and Christian Meditation.

Prayer is a core Christian practice, but for many, this means “saying prayers” or asking God for various favors. In this course, we will review a variety of methods of prayer that have been used for centuries in Christianity. Whether you’re a beginner who is just learning how to pray, or a more mature Christian who has been at it awhile, this course will offer specific guidance, encouragement and support for practicing several time-tested methods of prayer.  Enjoy a review of this course by Rich.

Enjoy Rich’s post: Does God Wake You Up At 3 in the Morning?

Enjoy Rich’s review of Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice – Book Review